We all understand that dental health is important, but it’s often underestimated. Oral diseases are common but their impact on overall health is important to understand. Certain procedures can also play a role in overall health and wellness. How can dental procedure impact my overall health? The answer may surprise you.
Connecting Oral and Overall Health
Your mouth is full bacteria and most of it is harmless. In fact, the entire human body is covered with bacteria. Unlike your skin though which prevents bacteria from entering your body to a great extent, your mouth serves as an entry point. Bacteria present in your mouth can easily enter your digestive and respiratory system. Some of these bacteria can cause harm.
Your body has its own natural defences but it’s important to practice good oral care. When you brush and floss daily, you’ll keep bacteria under control. Not practising good oral hygiene leads to higher levels of bacteria in the mouth. This can cause oral infections such as tooth breakdown and gum disease. Additionally, certain medications may reduce saliva production in the mouth. Since saliva helps to neutralize bacteria-produced acid, lower levels of saliva can also lead to disease.
Bacteria in the mouth are not only associated with poor oral health but also can play a role in the health of your entire body. Certain diseases have been linked to poor oral health. These are some of the most common diseases that have a connection:
- Endocarditis– also known as an infection of the heart’s inner lining, this condition usually occurs when bacteria from other parts of your body spread through your bloodstream and attach to your heart. The bacteria can originate in your mouth.
- Cardiovascular disease– although this is a condition that is not completely understood, some types of disease such as clogged arteries may be linked to inflammation that can be caused by oral bacteria.
- Premature birth/birth complications– this surprises many people but periodontitis has been linked to birth complications and overall low birth weight
- Pneumonia– Certain types of bacteria in your mouth can enter your lungs and cause pneumonia or other types of respiratory illnesses.
Dental Health and Quality of Life
Although having poor dental health can affect your overall health, it also affects the quality of life. A healthy mouth is a huge benefit. Not only does this boost confidence, but it also allows people to lead a normal life. They can eat, speak, and enjoy their lives without pain or embarrassment. It’s not always well-known but having an oral disease can significantly decrease a person’s quality of life.
Diseases and disorders of the mouth can cause both short and long-term problem. Pain, infections, and tooth losses are probably the most common problems of oral disease. This leads to difficulty chewing, speaking, and swallowing. It can lead to poor productivity and even interrupted sleep patterns if left unattended. Additionally, having poor dentition will lead to avoiding certain foods which can decrease quality of life measures. Finally, dental diseases can lead to long-term problems if left untreated. When they continue to spread, diseases of the mouth may cause soft tissue destruction. It can even cause disability or death.
Diseases and Oral Health
Although people who take good care of their teeth usually have a reduced risk of problems, some diseases can make it more challenging to maintain good oral care. One condition that affects millions of people is diabetes. Diabetes decreases the role of the immune system, putting you at a higher risk of any type of infection. Gum disease occurs more frequently in people who have diabetes. Additionally, having gum disease and inflammation in your mouth makes it more difficult to control blood glucose.
HIV/AIDS is also a condition that is associated with gum disease. Many people with this condition experience painful lesions in their mouth. Surprisingly, osteoporosis can cause increased dental problems. Since this condition is characterized by a weakening of the bones, it can also lead to bone and tooth loss in the face and mouth. Finally, people with Alzheimer’s disease struggle to maintain good oral care as their disease progresses.
These are some of the diseases that can increase a person’s risk of developing the disease but they’re certainly not the only ones. Certain types of cancer, immune disorders, and others have all been linked to poor oral health. If you have these or a similar condition, taking extra care with oral hygiene is essential in the long-term.
Dental Procedures and Oral Health
When it comes to protecting your overall health, keeping your mouth clean is a key staple. One of the procedures that play an important role in oral and overall health is having a regular cleaning. Dental cleanings can remove plaque buildup and reduce the number of bacteria living in your mouth. This plays a significant role in health and wellness. Having a regular dental checkup is just one routine procedure that pays off in the long run.
Filling any cavities or other damaged areas are also procedures that will contribute to good health. Any cavities that are allowed to stay in place are harbouring bacteria. Unless the bacteria-containing area is removed, this can lead to greater health risks over time.
There is not one single dental procedure that is recommended for each person but a dental surgeon may recommend a procedure that affects your overall health. For example, wisdom teeth may need to be removed. If they’re left unattended, they can become impacted and infected over time. Other procedures may be recommended for the health of your mouth and your entire body. Each person’s outcomes will be different but procedures to benefit your oral health also benefit overall health.
Staying on Track
The key to protecting your oral health starts with good oral care. Brushing, flossing, and regular dental checkups are essential. Make sure to seek out any experts or specialists if recommended by your dentist. You may be surprised to find out how much oral health can affect your life. These are just a few ways that dental procedures and dental care play a role in health and wellness.